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Minor Notices 403 

the records and history of the counties in Virginia in which the Clays 
lived, knows that during the colonial period they did not rank with the 
gentry or ruling class. Neither in Henrico nor in Chesterfield was a 
Clay a magistrate (one of the best tests of a family's position), and 
nowhere in the records of these counties, so far as I am acquainted with 
them, is a member of the Clay family styled "gentleman." The fact 
is, that the Clay family was an example — probably the best example — of 
the prosperous yeoman farmers (using the word in an English sense to 
make the meaning clearer) who have always composed the great majority 
of the rural population of Virginia. It is strange that in the past many 
writers (especially those hostile to Virginia) have been apparently ignorant 
of the very existence of this great part of our people, and have appeared 
to think that Virginia was inhabited solely by the ' ' planting aris- 
tocracy" and the "poor whites." There was never any impassable 
line between this middle class and the aristocracy (using the word solely 
to mean the large-property-holding and the office-holding class) and 
movement from one to the other, in both directions, was constantly 
going on. 

Such mistaken views, due to a very pardonable family pride, which 
shows itself in almost every published genealogy, have deprived this 
book of an instructive lesson to the student who is interested in genealogy 
on account of the light it throws on the history of a people. It would 
have been of value to show that there was this great middle class in 
colonial Virginia, that this class was composed of such people as the 
Clays were, and that under changed and more liberal conditions such 
families could produce such men as the family of Clay has done. 

But Mr. Smith and Mrs. Clay did not write with a view to furnish- 
ing side-lights on the history of the Virginia people, but to prepare a 
memoir of the mother of Henry Clay, and a genealogy of the Clay family, 
and these purposes they have, with the exceptions noted, carried out ad- 
mirably. The book is published in the usual sumptuous fashion of the 
Filson Club, and contains twenty portraits. 


To the Editor of The American Historical Review: 

My dear Sir : 

There are members of the American Historical Association 
and readers of the American Historical Review who, having subscribed 
to the Letters to Washington, have a right to be informed how far Mr. 
Worthington Chauncey Ford is justified in his criticisms on that work or 
to what extent his review is based on his own individual theories (see his 
review in Volume IV., No. 4, July 1899, page 729). In justice, there- 
fore, to such subscribers ; to students and historical writers who will use 
the Letters in connection with their own work, I hope I may be given an 

404 Reviews of Books 

opportunity, on the eve of the appearance of Volume II. of the series, 
of replying to a part of Mr. Ford's censorious review, — a part only, for 
it were useless to discuss the dogmatical statements made by Mr. Ford 
regarding both the mechanical and the editorial side of the work. His 
statement, for example, "that capitals and abbreviations are interesting 
from the study of character they permit, but inserted words may be em- 
bodied in the text, and altered words unless they materially altered the 
original meaning may be omitted," hardly agrees with his first statement 
that " the text must be accurate and as the writer made it." 

Why should ' ' Thorton ' ' be either of two other things, according to 
Mr. Ford, when it is "Thorton " in the original manuscript; or when 
Colonel Stephen continually wrote "Walkins" (pp. 121, 129, 136) 
should it be printed, as Mr. Ford would have it, " Watkins "; and where 
it is clearly " Triplep " in the original should it be changed in the text to 
"Triplett"? The correct spelling of proper names "carelessly" (?) 
written in the manuscript may be arranged in the index, but in the body 
of the work the print should follow the original. Why could not Mon- 
acatootha have been an "agreed" friend to the English? Agreed is 
perfectly intelligible and it is so in the original, notwithstanding Mr. 
Ford's suggestion that it is more likely to have been "a good or great 
friend." " Conigockicg " would be a remarkable printing of Coneco- 
cheague were it not that Commissary Walker so wrote it. As to " Tal- 
muth" for "Falmouth "'I fail to find it where Mr. Ford says it occurs 
(p. 136). A reviewer so very critical should be more careful. 

As to Mr. Ford's "probable" readings may I not ask why, when 
Mr. John Carlyle wrote " Car? on the N. first cost", should it have 
been changed by me even in the exercise of a " personal quality " to " cu y 
on their " ? If this edition of the Letters was intended as an historical 
primer I might have noted that the sentence written in full would be 
"carrying on the nett first cost." Also in regard to "Grass Guard" 
(page 142) which Mr. Ford does not understand and for that reason, 
apparently, drags it in to swell the total of his criticisms. I might have 
noted that the detachment of men guarding pasturage Was so styled, but 
this I think would occur to anyone reading those letters wherein the sub- 
jects of cattle and of pasturage are dwelt upon, or to any one at all 
familiar with the commissary methods of the period. 

I regret, with Mr. Ford, that " conjecture fails to disclose the refer- 
ence to the Ciprian Dame (p. 39) and to XVIII. f. f. D. (p. 329)." 
In the first case the Chevalier Peyrouny indicates by a cross-mark where 
he would have inserted in the body of his letter certain words written tn 
the margin. I so inserted them, having read them as printed. On re- 
ferring again to the original manuscript I see no reason to change my 
reading. In the other case XVIII. f. f. D. is printed as written. No 
note could have made it plainer that it refers to the Drafts, the first 
subject of Col. Stephen's letter. 

If a comparison were made of these literal prints word for word with 
the original manuscripts it would be found that both the printer and the 

Minor Notices 405 

editor have performed their task conscientiously and that they have 
proven that it is not the impossible task it appears to Mr. Ford to repro- 
duce in type the peculiar and often characteristic oddities of writing 
encountered. It seems, however, beyond even the most painstaking 
care to be never without a slip in such exacting work ; but it is a source 
of satisfaction that even with Mr. Ford's minute scrutiny so few and such 
obvious misprints have been found, especially when the difficult charac- 
ter and almost illegible condition of many of the manuscripts are 

Mr. Ford has, however, pointed out some typographical slips in the 
printed text. " I have seen a breviate comission " (p. 12), should read 
"I have sent" ; "P. A." (p. 138) should read "P. H.",— Peter 
Hog, naturally; "esputed" (p. 160) should read "expected"; and 
again "prenium" (p. 358) should read "premium." The sense is in 
each case obvious, and while this is no excuse for such misprints, yet 
they are surely not of such character " that serious doubt must apply to 
the entire text as printed," as Mr. Ford asserts. 

Where Mr. Ford's criticisms are just and tend to eradicate errors, 
they are appreciated. But where, whenever he does not understand the 
text, he takes it to be an error or an evidence of careless reading of the 
manuscript or of the proof, and appears to depend upon his memory as 
to the manner in which the original was written, he goes beyond the 
limits of fair criticism and unjustly censures that which he does not 

I remain, my dear Sir, 

Very truly yours, 

Stanislaus Murray Hamilton. 

[Upon submitting a copy of the above communication to Mr. Ford, 
the managing editor has received the following reply : 

" I cannot but think that Mr. Hamilton reads into my review a spirit 
which was not intended. A manuscript should be printed as the writer 
made it ; but this does not mean that every flourish, blot or interlined 
word should be reproduced. Further, in cases of doubt, it is better to 
print a proper name in a form which approaches a correct one, than to 
go out of one's way to produce a form remote from the true and there- 
fore misleading. If the manuscripts are in as bad condition as Mr. 
Hamilton says they are, he could have erred on the right side, and not 
read a c for an e, n for u, k for h, a for u and n, or vice versa. The 
function of an editor is to make a manuscript intelligible to the reader, 
and the reviewer's experience might have saved him from the charge of 
dogmatizing. Even Mr. Hamilton's explanation leaves it an open ques- 
tion whether his Conigoofckg, Wa/kins and Triple/ are true readings of 
the manuscript, as the places and names are well known. Does Mr. 
Hamilton leave an i undotted ? If not, why make an uncrossed t into